I’m Ethiopian? Black? People don’t understand.

Dinah Paulos, San Francisco, CA. My family originates in Ethiopia, and I am the first generation who was not born there. So what does that make me? I am the true definition of African American. My family is from Africa and I was born in America, thus making me an African American. When I tell […]


Too ambiguous to fit in anywhere.

Tasha L., Largo, MD. I am adopted, raised by a half French/half Black mother and full-blooded Sicilian father. I am half Black, quarter Indian (India) and quarter white in my biological heritage. I am told I look Latina or white, “definitely not Black,” and have always noticed I seem to confuse people when they try […]


Noir, Schwartze, Negredo – I Am Black

Courtney Jones, Denver, CO. People hide behind the stereotypes, racism, politics, and labels to avoid CONNECTING with others. Are we afraid people have more in common with us than we allow our differences to believe? My pride in my race contributes to my Life & community. It takes nothing from you & we all gain […]

You sound like a black person

Leslie Morris Roanoke, VA I am in management at one of the top insurance companies in the United States and this was the ignorant comment I heard when an individual on my team transferred a man to me to resolve his issue. He said “You sound like a black person.” I asked if that was […]


I’ll experience this, hopefully they don’t.

Takiyah L., Oakland, CA. If all it takes for me is to take on the burdens of intersectionality, just so my brother and sister, and future generations of Black and Brown youth will not have to experience that, then I am all down for the cause. I would not want them to endure such things, […]


I know rap, not black people

Toby Johnston USA. I grew up in Los Angeles the 80’s, rabid fan of all things rap. I am white and for many of my friends (Mexican, black, white, lower/middle/upper class, whatever) rap was the music of rebellion. I got called ‘wigger’ by my white(r) friends and heard a lot of hate spewed. And yet […]


My black boyfriend’s not an athlete

Elizabeth S, USA. Is he on the basketball team? Does he play football? I’m white and in an interracial relationship. Whenever someone new sees a picture of us together that’s usually the first thing they ask. No, I’m sorry just because he is tall and black doesn’t mean he can dunk or played sports in […]

Mom, talk about your “black firsts.”

Janice Lowe New York City, NY My mother, Dr. Willa Lowe was one of the first black English teachers in several high schools in New Jersey, Washington, DC and Ohio. She was part of that first wave of school integration in which talented African American teachers were hired before African American students were admitted. She […]

Baltimore collage

Mom said I never saw color.

Corrine Ferrell-Macatee, Baltimore, MD. Me, bad bangs, my best friend, little girl with braids, my cousin, cute little Japanese girl. My nana and sister are here too, it wasn’t til I was in my early teens I even realized we weren’t all white, black or Japanese.


“Does he know,” Nana asks, worriedly?

Liz Pryor, Northampton, MA. Smith College. My mother was white. So was her whole family. After my husband, who is white, proposed, my grandmother cornered my cousin and asked “Does he know about Elizabeth?” My cousin asked back, “Does he know what?” and my grandmother answered, “That she’s Black.”

I’m white. So you hate me.

Annie, Glen Burnie, MD. I keep seeing people saying fuck white people. I am anything but privileged. I had a black manager who hated me. She did everything she could to try to keep me from succeeding two years ago. She threatened me on my birthday. Then, next birthday, she had everybody get together and […]


We aren’t all “Strong Black Women”

Ce Submitted via Twitter: @CelesteAurora Sunday March 11, 2012- 140 character exchanges spark a rich conversation… The Tweets that ignited the conversation… We aren’t all “Strong Black Women” @CelesteAurora     Has “strong” become a euphemism for “it doesn’t matter how we treat them because they’ll survive”? Pamela Upsher ‏ @PupsherLive   It seems so. […]


I’m Pavla Pletkova. And I’m black.

Pavla Pletkova, VA. Looking at my picture you could never tell. Listening to me speak you could never tell. What I’ve been told is I look like a “regular light skinned black girl”. But little do they know I’m far from regular. As far as I know, I have never met another Czech-Ghanaian person, well, […]


Mullet. Dashiki. Mom White. Step-dad Black.

Paco Romane, San Francisco, CA. I grew up in an all white racist small town, with a hispanic nickname (paco), a white mom, and a black step-dad who’s last name was White. It taught me a lot including I believe there are two different kinds of white people: those become “black” around black people and […]


Black, Caribbean-American, human, American, Southern

Britt Stone, Philadelphia, PA. No one ever asked “what” I am. They just assume. They approach me with all sorts of ideas about what food I like, what music I listen to, the books I read, and my favorite movies and tv. They have an opinion of what I should sound like when I speak, […]


Cut off–that is black America.

Ian Peterkin, Bridgeport, CT. When you think about it, what do you know of the achievements of black Americans other than what you get in February? Virtually everything I’ve learned about black art, literature, culture, and religion, I learned on my own. Cut off from one’s cultural identity, point of origin, and the stories that […]


One man. Indivisible. Black. Gay. American.

Alva Jones Jr. Greensboro, NC I’m a bit of a focal point of discrimination in this country. As a Black man I’m viewed as a threat. As a gay man I’m viewed as an abomination. These views have by no means been universal in my travels, but the reality of their existence is no less […]


Seen as black only by Americans!

Joel Anthony Murray, Sr. Westminster, MD. Iranians in DC thought I was Iranian. A Tunisian on a train with me to NY thought I was Tunisian. A Pakistani in Baltimore thought I was Pakistani. A Vietnamese coworker thought I was Middle-Eastern. A Nepalese coworker thought I was Indian or Pakistani. I work with people from […]


Black grandma, White grandpa. That’s weird!

Val’Dionna P., San Francisco, CA. Throughout the years it has been a bit difficult to understand the many emotions and stereotypes being of color and mixed. It is important to understand that how one is raised growing up in a complex world that continues to critique someone on the features or melancholy of their skin […]

Little white kids have it hardest

K Russell, Chattanooga, TN. As a little white kid growing up, I was constantly harassed by black boys for no other reason than I was white- and small enough not to be a threat (I only weighed 89 lbs by eighth grade.) Luckily I had a great friend that was also black that saved me […]

White skin is the best camouflage

C. Badour, MI. In America today, the best way to fly under the radar is to be white. Assumptions are made about blacks, asians, and hispanics based purely upon race, which cannot be said about whites. Non-whites seem to stick out in America, as if being white is considered a social norm and being non-white […]


Lie. Pretend to be “less Black”

Anonymous, USA. Someone, maybe many people, in my family took on the persona of mixed race Black/Native Americans so they could be, what? Less Black? I don’t know if it was my father’s generation, or his father’s, or even farther back. I grew up thinking I was Indian and consequently less connected to my Black […]


Asians challenge the Black-White racial binary.

Jason Fong, Los Angeles, CA. Asian Americans have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years and yet we are routinely excluded from discussions about race relations in America. I’m in the 11th grade and I learn nothing about Asian Americans and our long history in America in my U.S. history class. I don’t think […]


This Is Why Blacks Aren’t Respected

Julian D., Las Cruces, NM. Thug and Welfare culture is NOT what your ancestors and forefathers fought and died for! The Rev. M.L. King, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, etc. are all turning over in their graves over how much Black America has degenerated. Time to get it together, men and women. Don’t let their efforts […]

Not black enough to be black

Christina Gibbs, La Habra, CA. Growing up in Orange County all of my life, I grew up around mostly White, Asian, and Mexican people. I was always the token black person in schools throughout life and in my friend groups. The only only times I was around more than a few black people was when […]


Not black, brown, neither white, beige

Ida Nielsen, Danmark I think it’s wrong to use the words BLACK and WHITE. I mean: I got a lighter skin tone, than the people you would call black, but that doesn’t mean that I’m white. No, I’m not white, and they are NOT black. If I was white, then you shouldn’t be able to […]

This big chip hurts my back.

BURTON DAVIS PRICE Greenwood, MS Becoming a black professional gives one a large chip on their shoulder. This chip can be so heavy at times that it makes your life miserable. You always question other peoples actions towards you, which can make you paranoid.


Mugged…Most assume black mugger…wrong

Lynne Moffitt, Virginia Beach, VA. When I was living in Louisville, I came home from work and was mugged when I got out of my car. I had looked around before I got out and this nice young man was walking down the sidewalk. He looked like a typical University of Louisville student which was […]


Wanted to be a black teenager

Elizabeth Hess, New Haven, CT. That photo is the end paper of my yearbook, Weaver High School, Hartford, Connecticut, 1975. I was one of about 15 white kids in a huge city school. I loved the laughter in the hallways, the treasured friendships, the “take me as I am-ness” of the classmates I most wanted […]


Veil, black, nationality, gender, food, proper names

Asmaa Benbaba, Auburn, AL. In more instances than one, the veil is considered as a symbol of subservience and exclusion by western media. As a result, a lot of people reproduce the same thoughts and behavior towards those women who choose the veil as an identity and refuse to think critically of the socio-cultural and […]


Family contrast black white shows beauty

Sherry Weaver, Woodstock, GA. Our family is a beautiful rainbow. We are pink with brown spots and brown with pink spots. We are just a family. I didn’t “rescue” anyone-we gave each other gifts. I was given the incredible gift of love and diversity, and they got a family who loves them and can appreciate […]


How to protect my black son?

Michael Bolton , Scottsdale, AZ. Understanding Race Project- University of Michigan Dad Caucasian. lived life in black neighborhood mostly. studied black history–college+leisure. love black culture esp music, classic jazz. slave narratives. am black myself but cannot pass as such. other dad, my partner, black, died. am now single dad, not planned. bringing up son in […]


Black. Good hair? Indian in your family?

Nicole, New Orleans, LA. Black women are so obsessed with their hair that it can totally consume their life… “I can’t get in the pool ‘cuz I can’t get my hair wet”. “Girl, I can’t work out and sweat and mess up my hair”. “I can’t buy that. I gotta pay to get my hair […]


Two Black Lesbian Daughters. Say What?!

Shelley Ferrand, USA. After the initial shock of their coming out, I realized that THEY are the long search for fruits of my 1960’s labor and radicalism. So, when I see the economic travesties in our community, after I pledged on campus 40 years ago to give it my all to help end my people’s […]


Black business is GREAT business too!

Anika Dixon, Little Rock, AR. The color of my skin should not determine the type of house I can sell you or the type of properties I can manage for you! You allow me to manage your ‘hood properties’ but you allow your own to manage your ‘no problem’ properties. REALLY??

Sitting with Marva on the bus

Lu Ann Joplin The Villages, FL I was in junior high, she was in high school. I’m white, she’s black. She asked if she could sit with me. I said sure. It didn’t occur to me it could be a problem. I really got the treatment everyday when she got off the bus. The bus […]

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Canadian African German Black and White

Scott Kraenzlein, The New York City, NY. Born to a (white) Canadian mother and a (black) African father in Canada I was adopted at birth by a white couple who divorced when I was 2. My mother married my stepfather, a German national, when I was 7 and we moved to Germany. I spent my […]

I’m biracial & multi-ethnic: I’m Human.

Nichole Pettit, Lake Como, NJ. Monmouth University I’m biracial. I’m not just African American, I’m also American, German, English and Irish! Many say “You’re black,” sure but I’m not just that. Do not reduce my race and ethnic background to a single word. I do not belong to a single group, I belong to many. […]


African American but not black

Rewan, New York, NY. I’m 15 years old, and I live in New York. My parents were both born and raised in Egypt and moved here in the ’80s. Let me cut to the chase- I’ve been called white, Hispanic, “light skin,” but I consider my self Arabic, because Egyptians speak Arabic and is located […]

Racism’s destroying my belief in God

Edgar Montgomery, Brick, NJ. Monmouth University To know the story of my six words, one just needs to turn on any news channel, daily. Or, check the bureau of labor statistics since its inception. Or, check statistics on levels of incarceration for African Americans. Or, view all forms of media open to human consumption. Or, […]

Este hombre es un negro blanco!

Isaias Ortiz Davenport, FL Este hombre es un negro blanco! This man is a white black. The first time I heard that phrase was circa 1980, a family member said while referring to one of his friends, while they were singing and playing their guitars together. I was 20 years old by then, growing up […]

Educated man people see only black

Jason Adams Wichita, KS I have fought to educated myself so I could raise my family into the middle class but at every job I applied for I did not get the job. My name helps me get into the door but as soon as I walk in the door their eyes get big and […]

Teach in Japan, but you’re black

Dee Moore, Shreveport, LA. Hajimemashite! That is the stigma I am always facing in my community. I am a 25 year old African American educator who has plans to teach overseas in Japan. I am also studying Japanese so that I can develop some kind of fluency. Since I was young, I was always interested […]


To be young, gifted, and black.

Maynard Hearns, Santa Cruz, CA. The black story in america is very simple: we were slaves, and then we weren’t. We were never given freedom, or equality. When we begged for it, we were lied to. When we Marched on Washington and pleaded our case, we were shot in the back of the head. When […]


You’re not like most black girls.

Felicia Oakmon, Autin, TX. This statement is a repeat offender. I am half black and half Mexican, but I wasn’t aware that ALL “black girls”,or ALL people are exactly the same. Instead of judging people by media, social networks,and what you have heard… take the time to have a conversation, take the time to listen […]


No offense BUT, what are you?

Francesca Sam-Sin, Katy, TX. “No offense BUT, what are you?” That’s usually how the conversation about my race begins. When I arrived in the U.S. in the 80’s I was really surprised by the emphasis on race. The first time someone asked what “race” I was, it took me a minute to understand exactly what […]


Finally, a multi-racial option on applications.

James Duvall OUTSIDE USA For the longest time, I’ve always tried to put both my Latin side and my African American side towards the end of job applications. Sometimes they would make you choose one or the other. so when that happens I would alternate between Latino and Black. But now I can finally pick […]

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Does her black baby doll offend?

Michelle Martini, USA. When it came time to choose my daughter’s first baby doll, there were only dark-skinned dolls left in the specific brand/style I wanted. Thinking it didn’t matter, I bought it. She has since chosen her own doll — also dark skinned. I’ve gotten a few comments. Most people seem to think we’re […]


Successful, Black, Gay, a family’s shame…

Karim Ali, Columbus, OH. I suppose I have been pondering my Race Card (TM) entry for a few months. When I read the comments of Michael Sam’s father (Michael Sam Sr.) about his disappointment in his son for being gay, I was nearly in tears, as it reminded me of my own coming out with […]


I Am Not White Or Black

Matthew, TX. Black, White, Asian, or Pink with Purple polka dots – your skin color is not who you are. Do not obsess over the shade God painted you when you were born. Do not let history define you. Do not allow others to control your actions. Love, respect, kindness. Not hate and vengeance for […]



Ebonee Small, Ontario, CA. I am a young black woman proud of the skin I’m in. I love my race of people when those who don’t. I’m always proud because it seems as if every obstacle placed before my race we always concur leaving others dumbfounded. Others outside my race seem to always try and […]


Done Being the Token Black Girl

Ebony, Farmington Hills, MI. I grew up in a place where Black people felt they made it. A suburban community where the majority of residents were Black, employed, and thriving. It was wonderful growing up in this setting but it created unrealistic expectations for what the “real world” was and what life is like for […]

To know Black, ride a bicycle.

Peter S. Fair Oaks, CA It is extremely difficult for those in the Majority to understand the grinding reality of our structural Racism. Few people have the imagination to place themselves in the lives of others, and even fewer seem to have the willingness to do so. The great bulk of the Majority just doesn’t […]


No one knows unless I tell

Natasha Smith, Philadelphia, PA. I am white. I look white. I am white? Pale skin, red frizzy hair, littered with freckles. Often I am asked “Are you Irish?” The answer is “No…” and I wonder if it is the time to go into my family’s racial identity or my own struggles with my racial identity. […]

“No offense, but you’re so pretty!”

K.E. Broadnax, Cleveland, OH. This was said to me while attending college. I am black, and went to a predominantly white, upper-class university (as many are, to be fair). His statement was prefaced by the question, “What nationality are you?” If I was me now, back then, I would’ve replied “American.” But I knew what […]


Racism is an ego-based human dysfuntion

James E Washington, Rochester, NY. The ego thrives on identification and separation. We seems to be a nation that thrives on dualism, having an “other” a “they or them” as a means to distinguish ourselves from. White, Black; Rich, Poor: Republican, Democrat; Christian, Jewish; Fat, Skinny; on and on. The problem appears to be “ego […]

Black, he fixed it and me.

Winslow Parker Portland, OR Back story: She was from upstate New York, I from San Diego; both of us from snow-white neighborhoods. It was 1971. Grey-brown smoke on the the northern horizon still lingered in my mind; Watts burning. We moved into the thin white line on the eastern edge of the Grand Concourse young, […]


Wow, I can’t believe you’re black!

Kelsi Evans, Williamsburg, VA. Growing up in society I have always been questioned about my race. I come from two very, very light-skinned African-American parents, so therefore I am very light, have soft curly “white people” hair, and don’t necessarily “talk black”. Being this kind of person draws attention to myself because people always make […]

They hate me because I’m Black?

Alexander, Sandy Springs, GA. I grew up in a majority neighborhood during the eighties and nineties. There were only a few other minority families in the area at the time. It wasn’t until college after high school graduation I learn I was black and highly disliked based on the color of my skin and not […]


Black with dreads and white husband

Tiffany Yizar, Norwalk, CT. My blackness and black cultural authenticity is never questioned, until people discover I have a white husband. As if his race diminishes mine and the life experience I’ve had in the years prior to meeting him. In fact, I’d argue being a black woman married to a white man, a union […]

Our different skins hold one love.

Ty Martinez, Oak Lawn, IL. Black Mexican Korean Italian – sharing the best of each other with each other through similar yet very different cultural experiences. We amplify our togetherness by honoring our own mixed uniqueness.


Black lesbian CPA, it’s really me.

Andrea Hyson, San Francisco, CA. About two months ago, I finally met a new employee in another department. This woman and I had numerous phone conversations but hadn’t yet met. I decided to stop by her office to introduce myself. Another employee was at her door as I approached. As I turned into her office, […]

Why can’t I call them that?

Lance Bergstrom, Seattle, WA. Three Black guys attacked me and a friend one night. I got punched so hard I passed out and fell down. When I tried to tell the police that they were Black my friend told me not to say Black. Very bizarre night to say the least.

I’m black, but not “African American”

Danya Granado Aurora, CO If you must place me in a racial category, then call me black. And no, I’m not offended when you say it. My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born in England. I have a Hispanic last name. I get a lot of questions. Culturally, I feel as though […]


Who is your daughter’s father?

Itoko Richardson, Daly City, CA. I am Japanese and my husband is Black (he extremely dislikes to be called African-American). Our experience alone was interesting and filled with many racist, stereotype encounters and reactions. But my experience with my daughter is interesting. When I and my daughter are out, I can feel strangers’ wonder of […]

Son, indignant: I have the right to be!

Joann MO Submitted via NPR’s Talk of the Nation My six words are actually two, six word conversations between a black father and son about avoiding certain areas of town: Son, indignant: I have the right to be! Father: Yes, just not “be” over there. Naively thought we had settled this.


Your husband’s black? But you’re Asian.

Nina Ball, Baltimore, MD. When people first meet my husband and/or see a picture of us together, the surprise is obvious. I’ve had a few people outright tell me that they just assumed he was Korean. More often than not, I get the question, “What do your parents think?” When they find out that, like […]


Not Member of Your White Club

Britt Verstegen, Socorro, NM. I grew up as a blonde, blue-eyed kid in an interracial family within a racially diverse neighborhood of inner-city Detroit. My step-father is Black and my sisters are biracial. Due to my family composition, I became aware of white privilege at an early age. For example, I knew in third grade […]